A few states within the U.S. have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the majority of states continue to heavily regulate the drug, legalizing its use for specific medical reasons only. New Jersey is one of the states that only allows marijuana for certain medical uses. Otherwise, growing, possessing, and selling the drug remains illegal.
A Schedule I Drug
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance in New Jersey, which means the law considers the drug to have a high potential for abuse. Schedule I substances are also classified as having no generally recognized medical value. Other drugs in this schedule include but are not limited to heroin, ecstasy, bath salts, psychedelic mushrooms, and mescaline.
For reference, cocaine, crack cocaine, codeine, oxycodone, and opium are Schedule II drugs, meaning there is a high potential for abuse but there are currently accepted medical uses for them in the U.S.
Possession, Sale, and Manufacture
New Jersey has mandatory minimums for marijuana and other drug offenses.
The possession of marijuana is generally categorized has having fewer or more than 50 grams. An individual with fewer than 50 grams faces 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine under a disorderly persons offense. More than 50 grams is a crime with a penalty of 1.5 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. If the possession takes place within 1,000 feet of a school, the individual will need to complete 100 hours of community service and pay another fine.
Distribution of marijuana offenses are categorized as providing less than 1 ounce, more than 1 ounce but less than 5 lbs, between 5 and 25 lbs, and more than 25 lbs. Incarceration increases: 1.5 years, 3 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years, 10 to 20 years, respectively. Fines range from $25,000 to $300,000. Prison sentences are lengthened and fines increased if a person is found to have sold within 1,000 feet of a school, to minors, or to pregnant women.
Cultivation offenses are also based on ounces, which can be converted to an average number of plants. Growing fewer than 10 plants is associated with 3 to 5 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. Possessing fewer than 50 plants, but more than 10, comes with 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000. More than 50 plants has a minimum 10 year sentence and a $300,000 fine.
Medical Marijuana Exceptions
New Jersey law allows physicians to write prescriptions for marijuana to individuals with HIV, AIDS, MS, seizures, glaucoma, Lou Gehrig’s disease or another painful or terminal illness. A patient must have a written recommendation from their doctor, register with the state, and have a registry ID card to receive the marijuana. Most criminal charges are waived for patients, but it is still illegal to drive under the influence of the drug or to possess more than 2 ounces per month.
If you have been charged with a marijuana related offense, contact The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. for help.